One of the books I got from my mother was her 1946 book of household information.  My mother threw herself into being a housewife when she got married in 1945.  When I open this book, I like to think of her reading it intently and picking the hints she would use.


I love these old books for their everyday wisdom, the simple illustrations, and to see how far we’ve come.  I also learn a lot of useful tips even for today.

Obviously, this book will be used in other blogs because it’s too funny and interesting not to share.  Today, I picked two tips that stood out.

The first is timely since we are still in cold and flu season.  I absolutely never thought of making pockets for my sheets.  Maybe because I hate to sew and don’t have scraps of old sheets around to use like my grandmother did.  I don’t feel guilty because I do send my old sheets to Goodwill where they probably ship them off to Africa for re-use there.  Also, I don’t sleep as neatly as this person must have.


The second tip is for sleeve protectors when you are doing housework.  This one blows me away.  Obviously, these women were dressed in long sleeved blouses or dresses, but couldn’t they just push up the sleeves?  The “gay sleeve protector” is made from colorful fabric, once again found around the house, with snaps sewn on so you could wind it around your arm.  This was the fancy version.  I’m trying to envision this one and the trouble they went to making it work.


When I’m trying to explain to my kids that I ran a house without an answering machine, computer, or cell phone, I have to remember that I grew up in a time when we didn’t have clothes dryers, barely a washing machine (my grandmother had a wringer washer), dishwashers, electric vacuums, much less television.  By the time I was married, we had all of those things.

My huge respect for the women in my family who preceded me continues to grow.  I remember hanging out the clothes with my mother and grandmother, using the push sweeper, and washing the dishes (which I’m actually doing now since my dishwasher isn’t working).  None of those things was horrible, looking back.  But, we love our progress that lets us spend less time cleaning and more time….doing what?  I think we trade one set of chores for another as women.